The Tattooist Of Auschwitz: release date, cast, plot, trailer, interviews and everything you need to know

The Tattooist Of Auschwitz on Sky Atlantic and Peacock sees Jonah Hauer-King star alongside Anna Próchniak.
The Tattooist Of Auschwitz on Sky Atlantic and Peacock sees Jonah Hauer-King star alongside Anna Próchniak. (Image credit: Sky)

The Tattooist Of Auschwitz is a powerful drama series as it is set in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Jonah Hauer-King, Anna Próchniak, Melanie Lynskey, Harvey Keitel and Jonas Nay will star in Peacock and Sky Atlantic's adaptation of Heather Morris’ bestselling novel The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

The drama follows the real-life story of Slovakian Jew Lali Sokolov (Hauer-King) who is imprisoned in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland during World War Two, where he is given the role of tattooing identification numbers on the arms of his fellow prisoners. 

While doing so, Lali meets a young woman called Gita (Anna Próchniak) and their beautiful love story sees them both find light in the bleakest of places. Melanie Lynskey (Yellowjackets) will play New Zealand author Heather Morris, to whom older Lali (Harvey Keitel) told his story after Gita’s death, while Jonas Nay is an SS camp guard Stefan Baretzki. 

“It is a huge privilege to be telling Lali’s incredible story — one that he was so courageous to share,” says Jonah Hauer-King. “I have the utmost respect and admiration for his ability to find humanity and kindness in the most inhumane of places. These scripts heartbreakingly and vividly depict this appalling time in our history, and I feel proud to be honoring Lale and Gita’s remarkable journey.” 

Here’s everything you need to know about The Tattooist Of Auschwitz, which promises to be heart-wrenching and heart-warming in equal measure...

The Tattooist of Auschwitz poster.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz poster. (Image credit: Sky)

The Tattooist Of Auschwitz release date

The Tattooist Of Auschwitz will release worldwide on Thursday, May 2 2024, with each of its six episodes being made available to watch at the same time. It will also start its weekly run in the UK on Sky Atlantic at 9pm from Thursday May 2. 

In the US, Peacock will be your place to stream, while in the UK it'll be on Sky TV and NOW TV and in Australia it'll be on Stan.

VIAPLAY is taking Viaplay Series rights for Nordics (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland), Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the Netherlands and Poland.

How to watch The Tattooist of Auschwitz: stream the historical drama online

Is there a trailer for The Tattooist of Auschwitz?

Yes both an official trailer and teaser trailer have been released for The Tattooist of Auschwitz. You can watch below...

What is the plot of The Tattooist of Auschwitz?

The Tattooist of Auschwitz tells the true story of Lali Sokolov (Jonah Hauer-King), a Slovakian Jewish man who, in 1942, was deported to Poland's infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during World War Two. There he is given the job of Tätowierer, with the task of tattooing identification numbers on his fellow prisoners’ arms. One day he meets Gita while tattooing her prison number, and so starts a courageous love story where both must take unfathomable risks in order to be together, survive and help their fellow prisoners. Under constant guard from a volatile Nazi SS officer Baretzki (Jonas Nay), Lali and Gita became determined to keep each other alive. Soon Baretzki becomes aware of their feelings for each other and holds their fate in his hands…

Around 60 years later, recently widowed Lali (Harvey Keitel) is in his 80s and has the courage to tell the world his story to author Heather Morris (Melanie Lynskey), who turned the tale into a bestselling novel. He must face the traumatic ghosts of his youth and relives his memories of falling in love in the most horrific of places.

There are holocaust horrors in The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

There are holocaust horrors in The Tattooist of Auschwitz... Jonah Hauer-King as Lev and Jonas Nay as Stefan Baretzki (at front) (Image credit: Sky)

The Tattooist of Auschwitz cast — Jonah Hauer-King on playing Lali Sokolov

Jonah Hauer-King plays Jewish captive Lali, who must tattoo his fellow prisoners in Auschwitz concentration camp. 

Jonah says: "As soon as I heard that The Tattooist of Auschwitz was being adapted, I knew I wanted to be involved. It’s a rare thing to have the opportunity to tell such a vitally important story. Having read the book, it was hard not to feel daunted; I was honoured and excited, but extremely aware of the huge responsibility we all had to bring Lali’s story to the screen in a respectful and authentic way. 

"For research, one of the first things I did was get on a plane to Kraków to visit Auschwitz. I’d been as a young man and found it completely overwhelming, but it was important to go back there in preparation. I needed to see the camp through a new lens, through Lali’s eyes. From there, Naomi Gryn, (the Historical and Cultural Consultant) sent me an amazing list of research material to listen to, to watch and to read, so I just dived in. From that point, it was about finding the right balance between understanding the historical and socio-political context, reading survivors’ accounts, and trying to research as much as possible about Lali himself and his experience there. He gave hours of testimony at different points which helped me to understand him. The final piece of the puzzle was talking to Heather Morris. I met her on a number of occasions and was able to ask all kinds of questions  about Lali. This was truly special - she really gave me a sense of his kindness, his humour and his spirit. 

"Everything has been stripped from the prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkeneau but Gita gives Lali purpose and meaning. He wants to get out of there so he can be with her. The relationship between Lali and concentration camp guard Baretzki is complex. Lali is terrified of Baretzki and thinks he's a monster. But he's also aware he owes his life to him. And Baretzki has this strange admiration for Lali, which is extraordinary, given their power dynamic and status.

"We didn’t want to create a traditional captive and captor relationship. This is fascinating and complex and we didn’t shy away from that. When you have something so evil happening, it creates grey areas and impossible choices have to be made.

"I knew it was going to be very difficult not to bring a lot of my own baggage and preconceptions and even inherited trauma from these events. It is an unavoidably sensitive and painful period of history, and trying to bring it to screen felt overwhelming. But Heather gave me some great advice, which was to start by simply understanding Lali when we first meet him. Focusing on this young man from Krompachy, Slovakia, who was working in the fabric section of a department store in Bratislava. A man who was kind, and funny, and charismatic. Who had a love and appreciation for fashion. A man who wanted to fall in love and go to Paris. A family man. This was a helpful and grounding starting point, and acted as a small window into understanding him and what he then had to endure."

* Jonah Hauer-King played Prince Eric in the live-action Disney movie The Little Mermaid. He's previously starred in BBC1 dramas World on Fire and Howard’s End. He’s also had roles in Little Women, A Dog’s Way Home, Old Boys, Once Upon A Time in Staten Island and The Flatshare

The Tattooist of Auschwitz: Jonah Hauer-King and Anna Próchniak on their harrowing true-life drama

Jonah Hauer-King as Lalei Sokolov.

Jonah Hauer-King as Lali Sokolov. (Image credit: Sky)

Jonah Hauer King in World On Fire.

Jonah Hauer-King (front) in World On Fire. (Image credit: BBC)

Anna Próchniak on playing Gita Furman 

Anna Próchniak is playing Lale’s kind and brave girlfriend Gita Furman. Anna says; “Reimagining Gita Sokolov and her story for screen has been one of the greatest honours of my career so far, as well as a heartrending experience.

"I’d read the book and I understand the phenomenon of it, because the story is extraordinary and powerful. Gita and Lali find love and hope in a world filled with hatred and horror and in the most inhumane of places. It's beautiful. 

‘You can see their emotions are still there and it was special to watch how Gita smiled and to hear her voice. She and Lali found love and hope in a world filled with hatred and horror in the most inhumane of places. It's beautiful.

"It was the hardest and the most challenging role I’ve ever done, but also the most rewarding one. I shaved my head and lost weight. I thought that changing my image completely would be very difficult and emotional, but I was ready for it simply because it was what I had to do to tell Gita’s story. I was doing it in memory of her. In terms of research, I’d already been to Auschwitz and Majdanek, which is in eastern Poland. There is something about those camps that you cannot describe in words. I’m from Poland, which means the subject of the Holocaust has been present in my life since I was a kid. 

"In terms of Gita’s character specifically, there is one book that has been especially impactful and important for me. An Interrupted Life: The Diaries and Letters of Etty Hillesum 1941-43, a Dutch Jewish author who died in Auschwitz. Her diaries are recognised as the most important moral documents of our time and they helped me build Gita’s background and work on her inner life. I watched Gita’s testimony, which was recorded in 1997 when she was 72 and in which she talks about her family, the camp and her life with Lali after the war. It was a very powerful experience that helped me bring her to life. I also watched other Holocaust survivor testimonies, which was especially usefully in terms of exploring trauma in survivors, which is explored in some of the scenes."

* The Polish actress Anna Próchniak has previously starred in Baptiste, The Innocents, Warsaw ’44 and Oleg

The Tattooist Of Auschwitz.

Anna Próchniak as Gita Furman in The Tattooist Of Auschwitz (Image credit: Sky)

Anna Próchniak in Baptiste.

Anna Próchniak in Baptiste. (Image credit: BBC)

Melanie Lynskey as Heather Morris

Melanie Lynskey plays author Heather Morris who turned Lale’s story into a bestseller. Her acting debut was in the film Heavenly Creatures and she’s gone on to star in Yellowjackets, The Last of Us, Don’t Look Up, Young Sheldon and Two and a Half Men. She’s also starred in Coyote Ugly, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Castle Rock and Candy

Melanie says: “After  the horrors experienced at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the continuation of Lale and Gita Sokolov’s story is finding their new home, and it was years later in Australia Lale felt comfortable to share his story with New Zealand author Heather Morris. As a New Zealand storyteller in my own way, it is a privilege to be a part of the furthering of Lale’s and Gita’s heart-breaking, yet heart-warming story. It’s a reminder of how horrific the Holocaust was, but also an incredible story of a survival and a beautiful love story. 

"I’ve played a real person before and it’s terrifying, but I’ve never been able to talk to the person beforehand. So meeting Heather was wonderful. She’s a life force, so energetic. Before we started the shoot, she sent me a beautiful email pointing out that she’s a very different person today than she was 20 years ago, when she embarked on this journey. She didn’t have a ton of confidence, she was gentler but, following the success of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, she had to learn to become a public person. She gave me her blessing to create a character that was some parts me, some parts of her when she was interviewing Lali, and some parts of her now. Reading the novel also influenced my portrayal of Heather; I understood how spending three years talking to someone multiple times a week means you hear pretty much everything. Wearing the blonde wig helped too – Frances [Hounsom, hair and make-up designer] did a beautiful job of making me look like Heather without it looking as though I was completely in a costume."

Harvey Keitel and Melanie Lynskey in The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Harvey Keitel and Melanie Lynskey as Lali and author Heather in The Tattooist of Auschwitz. (Image credit: Sky)

The main four surviving adults in Yellowjackets season 1 stand in the woods

Melanie Lynskey (2nd from left) in Yellowjackets season 1. (Image credit: Brendan Meadows/SHOWTIME)

Jonas Nay on playing Nazi guard Stefan Baretzki

Jonas Nay plays Stefan Baretzki who was an SS guard at Auschwitz-Birkenau in charge of Lale Sokolov, something Jonas found difficult...

Jonas says: "It wasn’t easy because of everything I learned about him. There are even recordings of him at the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials in 1960, during which he was sentenced to life imprisonment. It was very disturbing to hear him try to defend what he did. At certain points I had to stop, I couldn’t bear to continue to listen to him any more. 

"His life was so different from anything I have experienced: he grew up with a violent father; he fled home as a young man and left his sisters behind; he was put in a position of great power, as an Auschwitz guard, at a very young age. The more I found out, the more I realised it was going to be a hard journey to embody this character. 

"I didn’t have to prepare physically – unlike many of the other actors, I didn’t have to shave my head – but the mental preparation was heavy. Being German, I’m very well-informed on the Holocaust as it is omnipresent during history lessons at school. I did intense research on Auschwitz, specifically on young SS officers who worked there during that period of time. I talked to Heather Morris on the phone and then again when she came to the set in Bratislava. A lot of what Lali told Heather didn’t make it into the original book, so some of that information found its way into my performance.

"There was one scene in particular that I was afraid of from day one. I was doing a very sadistic thing to Lali. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Lali doesn’t react as Baretzki expected him to and so Baretzki has a tantrum, grabs a child and covers the child’s mouth and nose so he can’t breathe. I was afraid of giving the child actor nightmares so I asked if I could meet him beforehand. I turned the whole thing into a game – he also covered my mouth and nose in rehearsal – and hopefully the scene wasn’t so overwhelming for him. The first time I walked on set in a Nazi uniform was awful too. There was no escaping the fact that I was a German playing a Nazi who did abhorrent things." 

* German actor Jonas Nay has also starred in the Deutschland 83, 86, 89 series, Line of Separation, The Accidental Rebel and The Four of Us

Deutschland 83

Jonas Nay in Deutschland 83. (Image credit: Channel 4)

 Harvey Keitel on playing older Lali Sokolov

Harvey Keitel (The Irishman, Youth) plays the modern-day Lali Sokolov as an older man. Around 60 years after the war, Harvey's Lale meets novice writer Heather Morris (Melanie Lynskey). Recently widowed, Lale finds the courage to tell the world his story. In recounting his story to Heather, Lale, in his 80s, faces the traumatic ghosts of his youth and relives his memories of falling in love in the most horrific of places.

Harvey Keitel says of The Tattooist of Auschwitz: "The love story in this project, in the face of the horror, gives testimony to the spirit and the goodness of people.

"I read texts by Eli Wiesel, Viktor Frankl. There are so many important and valuable books. There were many videos of testimony by former prisoners of Auschwitz. There are some video interviews of Lali online... I watched everything I could get my hands on. I met a wonderfully spirited woman - not unlike Lali and Gita - named Celine Karp Biniaz, a “Schindler’s List” survivor, who was at a friend’s gathering to share her experiences with younger generations. There is also a beautiful short documentary by Alan Resnais called “Night and Fog,” which is a must-see."

Harvey Keitel as older Lale Sokolov.

Harvey Keitel as older Lale Sokolov in The Tattooist of Auschwitz. (Image credit: Sky)

Harvey Keitel.

Harvey Keitel is playing Lale Sokolov as an older man. (Image credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Who else is starring in The Tattooist Of Auschwitz

Also starring in The Tattooist Of Auschwitz are Tallulah Haddon (Kiss Me First, The Last Duel) as Hanna, Mili Eshet (Beyond the Mountains, Hills) as Ivana, Yali Topol Margalith in her first screen role as Cilka, Phénix Brossard (Little Joe, Benjamin) as Leon, Ilan Galkoff (Good Omens, Hilda) as Aaron, and Marcel Sabat (Tenet, The Windermere Children) as Tomas.

Soundtrack for The Tattooist of Auschwitz — Hans Zimmer and Barbra Streisand

Multi-Academy Award®-winning composer Hans Zimmer (Inception, Interstellar, Dune) and Kara Talve (Prehistoric Planet) will compose the score for this adaptation of The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Hans Zimmer, who is best known for his iconic soundtracks to movies The Lion King, Rain Man, Gladiator, and The Dark Knight, will work alongside Kara Talve who is set to score Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming project, Faraway Downs, and is part of Bleeding Fingers, an Emmy-winning and BAFTA-nominated composer collective that was co-founded by Zimmer.

Hans Zimmer says: "Within the depths of Auschwitz, here is a story of hope and love, that transcends boundaries and resonates with the very essence of our humanity. I stand humbled to be part of this extraordinary production and both Kara and I are deeply privileged to compose this score. We invite you to join us on this journey, as we celebrate the human spirit and the power of hope within the darkest corners of history.”

Kara Talve says: “This is a dream project for me; not only does it challenge me artistically but also deeply resonates personally. Like millions of others, my family perished in the camps and to have the privilege to work alongside this incredibly talented team and help bring this story of hope to life has been a unique chance to reflect and as it stands has been the most honorable undertaking of my career thus far.”

 Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress, writer, and director, Barbra Streisand has recorded a brand-new song Love Will Survive, which will be the end title of the upcoming Sky and Peacock Original series, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

This will be Streisand’s first ever recording for a TV series and will be released globally by Columbia Records on April 25 2024, ahead of the series global launch on May 2nd.

Love Will Survive is composed by two-time Oscar®-winner Hans Zimmer in collaboration with Emmy nominee Kara Talve, part of the Bleeding Fingers Music composer collective, and Grammy-winner Walter Afanasieff, with lyrics by Grammy and Golden Globe nominee Charlie Midnight.

Zimmer and Talve have also composed the original score for the upcoming, six-part, limited series which stars Harvey Keitel, Melanie Lynskey, Jonah Hauer-King, Anna Próchniak and Jonas Nay.

Barbra Streisand, whose career spans over six decades and includes multiple award-winning and global hits such as her own composition Evergreen, The Way We Were and Woman in Love, is accompanied on this new recording by the world-class London Symphony Orchestra conducted by William Ross. The song is produced by multiple Grammy winners Walter Afanasieff and Peter Asher. Barbra Streisand, Jay Landers and Russell Emanuel are Executive Producers.

Barbra Streisand says: “Because of the rise in antisemitism around the world today, I wanted to sing “Love Will Survive” in the context of this series, as a way of remembering the six-million souls who were lost less than 80 years ago. And also to say that even in the darkest of times, the power of love can triumph and endure.”

Behind the scenes, locations and more on The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Auschwitz set was created in Bratislava, Slovakia. 

Anna Próchniak says: "It was rewarding but challenging to go into the camp every day and into that mindset. It took a toll on all the cast and crew and we knew that wasn't even a patch on what it would have been like for the real people. 

Jonah Hauer-King adds:  It was a strange experience going to that set, which they've meticulously recreated. Our production designer did the most incredible job and the camp takes on its own character in the story. It's such a foreboding and imposing place, it was frightening."

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Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.